Recently, I went away for a few days. Before I left, I started a few trays of seeds and left them on window sills. When I came back, I checked them and felt joy to see the few plants that had grown while I had been away.
I don’t know what name to give that feeling of pleasure at seeing the plants appear. I think it might be love. I hope it’s not just covetousness. I wouldn’t want to value these plants just because they feed me or their flowers bring beauty to the garden. I think it’s a feeling of being involved with the plants that joins me into the seasons and cycles, to the life of our Earth, and makes me feel real.
My name is Andi and I am one of this year’s FarmStart commercial organic growing trainees with The Plot, a small commercial farm with sites in Morecambe and Forton. Although my family doesn’t have a strong growing tradition (my grandad’s tomatoes and runner beans are about it), there must have been something in the air because my brother is committed to his productive allotment and, after a soggy Cumbrian allotment and volunteer work at Claver Hill community food project in Lancaster, here I am learning to grow commercially.
I heard about the training opportunity as I work part-time for FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food network. Specifically part of the Closing Loops project, which is transforming waste into a valuable local resource and promoting sustainable consumption. It’s early days, but I already feel I am learning. It’s fun to work alongside the trainers and my fellow trainees, even when it’s raining.
At this stage in the season-long course, it’s hard to know what opportunities will come up to use the skills I’m developing. As The Plot says themselves, just having more people around who know how to grow food is good, and I would be able to be more useful at Claver Hill.
Unlike some of the trainees, I don’t have any land I can use, and I don’t have access to capital, so I don’t think I’ll be starting my own farm. I have experience in volunteer management, community organisations and movement for health, so perhaps I can get involved with developing a community growing project and complement my job with Closing Loops. It’s good to grow food for others to eat, but it might suit me better to help people grow their own.